May 20, 2022 — Italians know how to relax as the sun goes down and we get ready for dinner with friends or family. They sip an aperitivo which comes from the Latin word aperire “to open” meaning, in this case, to open the appetite for the meal to come. It’s a pre-dinner drink that is low alcohol usually accompanied by small snacks such as olives, nuts or light finger food. Depending on whom you ask, the custom started 2000 years ago when the Romans served honey-flavored wine before a meal, a custom they borrowed from the Greeks. Or, as others claim, it dates back to the 1800s when Italian cafes started offering aperitivos.
Whatever the history, the year 2022 will mark the introduction of World Aperitivo Day on May 26, a global celebration through an online campaign under the hashtag #WorldAperitivoDay, with a live event in Milan presenting the first official ‘manifesto of the Aperitivo’. This event will be primarily for the industry but at the end of the day, a special consumer event will open the tasting experience to guests, paired with a live musical performance.
The event will also provide a ‘sneak peek’ of the format of the Aperitivo Festival which will premiere in May 2023 in Milan, as well as in select international destinations including the United States, Germany, UK and Hong Kong.
The industry slogan for World Aperitivo Day is “It’s only Aperitivo if it’s at least 50% made in Italy”and with that in mind, here are three aperitivos along with cocktail recipes to get the ball rolling for May 26:
Italicus Rosolio de Bergamotto, a delicate, floral liqueur made from bergamot fruit grown in the UNESCO protected region of Calabria, Italy available through Curiada. Based on a 19th century recipe, it comes in a striking bottle priced at $47.99.
Select Aperitivois the classic Venetian aperitivo. Created in 1920 it has a precise selection of 30 botanicals producing a sophisticated aromatic profile and rich red hue. It is available through Reserve Bar priced at $36.00 and Drizly.
Amaro Montenegrois made using a secret recipe that remains unchanged since its creation 136 years ago. An Italian bitter herbal liqueur, it features the essence of 40 botanicals from around the globe producing a beautifully balanced bitter-sweet flavor and complex taste. Available on Drizly and Reserve Bar Priced around $35.00 to $40.00.
1 part Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
2 parts Prosecco (or Champagne)
Three olives for garnish
Method: Serve in a tumbler or wine glass with cubed ice and garnish with olives
2 oz Select Aperitivo
3 oz chilled Prosecco
1 oz soda water
Castelvetrano olive or green olives for garnish
Method: Starting with the Prosecco, pour over ice, add Select Aperitivo and soda water. Stir gently. Garnish with a large Castelvetrano olive or other green olive.
Monte & Tonic
2 oz Amaro Montenegro
4 oz tonic
Orange slice for garnish
Method: Pour ingredients over ice in a tumbler, stir gently and garnish with an orange slice.